Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The "cover up".

Image result for trump images"     I don't do cover-ups". 

That's what Mr. trump told a room full of politicians who were meeting with him to map out a plan to fix America's serious infrastructure problem.

In what has to be one of the dumbest political moves in history, Mr. trump threw a fit in front of a room full of democrats who wanted to find some common ground with him and get some things done. He walked out to a carefully choreographed press conference to declare that he is sick of being investigated, and that the only way he will come together with the democrats for the common good of the country is if congress gives up their oversight of the executive branch.

Clearly the president has very thin skin, and if he is going to be a true leader he has to put on his big boy pants and get over the fact that he is being investigated (and rightfully so) for all of his alleged misdeeds.

Throw in the fact that another court ruled against him today, and you can see why he probably feels like the walls (pun intended) are closing in.

"I don't do cover-ups". 

Actually, you do Mr. trump. Or did you forget about the money you paid to your side chick/porn star to silence her and cover up your sexcapades?

If you did, I am here to remind: you.Covering up (and lying) is your thing. 






  

Monday, May 20, 2019

What we all should be talking about.

  • Image result for deutsche bank
Dear America, please ease up off the Game Of Thrones water cooler talk for just a minute and start talking about stories like the following: 

"Financial transactions by legal entities controlled by Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2016 and 2017 were flagged as suspicious by anti-money laundering specialists inside Deutsche Bank. But bank executives repeatedly discouraged the staffers from raising the concerns and filing a formal report with the Treasury Department, according to the New York Times.

The Times talked to five current and former bank employees who said transactions involving Trump’s and Kushner’s firms set off alerts in the computer system that detects potentially suspicious activity. Staff members then prepared what are known as suspicious activity reports but executives at the bank put a stop to them and they were never submitted to the Treasury Department. 
  
Deutsche Bank has been in the spotlight because it has lent billions to the Trump and Kushner companies even as other financial institutions refused to do business with them. Although it isn’t clear what the transactions were about, at least some of them had to do with money going from Kushner’s firms to Russian individuals. Concerns were also raised regarding Trump’s firms and at least one transaction was related to the now-dissolved Donald Trump Foundation.

The Times makes clear that suspicious activity reports by themselves don’t prove any wrongdoing. And regular transactions involving real estate can raise red flags because they can involve all-cash deals. The bank, the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies all denied wrongdoing. But the Times’ sources say the failure to report the transactions is part of a wider culture inside Deutsche Bank in which executives reject reports in order to protect their relationship with wealthy clients.

Congressional investigators have been looking into the long relationship between Deutsche Bank and Trump as well as his family members. Two House committees have filed subpoenas for documents relating to suspicious activities involving Trump’s accounts since 2010 but the president and his family have sued Deutsche Bank to try to block it from complying." [Source]

All these subpoenas being filed by democrats don't mean a thing. Mr. trump and his pals will continue blocking and obstructing until the clock runs out. 

Sadly, Americans don't seem to care. We are all too busy waiting for the next hot HBO series.  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Caption Saturday.

I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from yardbarker.com

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Give me your most educated and wealthiest of the masses yearning to be free.

  • Image result for statue of liberty
I don't have much to say tonight, although I would like your feedback on this new trump immigration proposal.

Your president has laid out his "merit based immigration plan", and yes, it's as bad as it sounds.

"Under the new plan, 57% of green cards would be awarded on merit as opposed to the current 12%. Immigrants would be expected to be financially self-sufficient, learn English and pass a civics exam. The diversity visa lottery, which offers green cards to citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the US, would be terminated.

“If adopted, our plan will transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world,” 

This is rich coming from a man who hires undocumented workers, and who could not meet the standard he set for others himself.

Let's see now, he can't speak English, we know that he would flunk the civics exam, and he damn sure isn't  "financially self-sufficient". --How could he be when he lost over a billion dollars?--  And he was still trying to borrow millions of dollars since being elected president. Heck two of his three wives couldn't meet the standard he set for other immigrants who want to come to this country. I am quite sure that Mr. trump's current in- laws would not have been granted green card status under this plan. I guess they got in just in time.     

On its face this doesn't even look like a serious proposal around policy. Sadly, it looks just like another one of his cheap political stunts to fire up his base.

Thoughts?
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A killing in Texas.

Image result for texas images   This past Monday night a police officer in Texas shot and killed a black woman (who screamed that she was pregnant) in her apartment complex.

I am posting this tonight because I don't ever want this type of story to become just another dog bites man news item. 

 "A woman was shot and killed during an altercation with a police officer Monday night in Baytown, Texas, after she resisted arrest and grabbed the officer’s taser, police said.
An officer in the city east of Houston was patrolling an apartment complex when he recognized a woman who lived there who he knew had prior warrants, police said.

When police tried to arrest the woman, 45, whose name they are not releasing at this time, she resisted arrest, said Steve Dorris, a Baytown police lieutenant and public information officer.
The officer was “forced to deploy his taser” on the woman, but it wasn’t “effective,” Dorris said. The woman grabbed the taser and used it on the officer who was trying to arrest her.

The woman’s actions “forced the officer to draw his duty weapon and fire multiple rounds at the suspect who was struck at least one time," Dorris said.

The woman was declared dead at the scene and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is now assisting in the investigation, police said.
The fatal incident was recorded on social media and went viral, with some commentators questioning why the incident ended in the woman's death.

In a Snapchat video of the incident, the woman told the officer she was pregnant. Police and family members were not able to confirm whether the woman was pregnant, but her family told NBC’s Houston affiliate KPRC-TV that she had two children, both in their 20s.

Witnesses at the apartment complex told KPRC that the woman was "not a bad person," and that she would “just walk around, smoke her cigarettes and walk her dogs.”

Another neighbor, Taylin Inniss, said she heard the shots, and when she learned that someone had been killed at her apartment complex, she didn't believe it.

"They must’ve had a couple of words. Things went a whole different way, and he shot her, and I really feel for the family and I hope they get some type of justice," Inniss said. "I just pray for them honestly because life is short nowadays."

Baytown police are not naming the officer who shot the woman, but said he has worked as an officer for 11 years." [Source]

Incredibly, the police department issued a statement saying that they do not believe that the woman was pregnant as she screamed before being killed. As if it's alright to shoot and kill an unarmed woman. 

Also, the police want the person who video taped the killing to come forward. They were not pleased with a citizen exposing their behavior for all the world to see. 

 "It’s unfortunate that somebody take a tragic incident like this and start posting it on social media. That’s extremely disrespectful for everybody involved,” 

No chief, what's "unfortunate" is that one of your officers is so poorly trained that they have to take the life of a woman in this manner. I will take being alive over being disrespected all day long. 

Had that been a dog, Fido would be alive tonight. Because sadly the lives of some people are not worth as much as our pets. 

It's clearly a sad state of affairs here in America, and it seems that more and more of these types of incidents are happening every day.   

The police officer involved has now been placed on a paid administrative leave, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of his career.

 Personally, I have some strong feelings about how this will all turn out, and I can assure you that they are not good.  








Sunday, May 12, 2019

The midnight train to Georgia might have to leave without me.

Image result for georgia peach

Most black folks in America consider Atlanta to be the place to be because of its level of hippness, culture, and educational and job opportunities. Most connected and upwardly mobile black folks would rather send their children to Spelman and Morehouse than to Harvard and Yale. Atlanta bills itself as "the city too busy to hate", and if you visit The A you will see why.

Atlanta has a problem, though, it is located in the state of Georgia. And while they might be too busy to hate in the city of Martin Luther King, their neighbors in the state of Georgia do not have the best record when it comes to tolerance and being progressive on issues.

The latest stain on the state's legacy comes courtesy of a bunch of old white men who want to create a type of Handmaid's Tale dystopian society.  They have decided that a  woman's body should be controlled by the state, and if she tries to take control of it, it's punishable by imprisonment.

Georgia's draconian anti-choice law punishes women for trying to take control of their bodies six weeks after their last menstrual period ("Before many women even realize that they are pregnant.") It also criminalizes doctors and other professionals who might help to induce abortions.

It gets worse. If the woman goes to another sate where these laws do not apply, it could apply to her because she is a resident of the state.

If some of these fanatics have their way we will soon find ourselves going back to the days of coat hangers and back room abortions. These right-wingnuts are emboldened because Mr. grab em by the pussy has stacked the courts with conservative Justices who have a very negative view of the female body.

Now, predictably, the backlash has begun  And for that I am thankful. Movie production companies are threatening to pull out of the state.

 "Georgia has been the location for the filming of multiple television shows and blockbuster films, including one of Such films and the production of wildly popular TV series including "The Walking Dead" and "Stranger Things" have resulted in an estimated $2.7 billion pouring into the Southern state from direct spending via 455 productions, the governor's office announced last year.

Filmmakers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele released a joint statement Friday stating they'd stand "shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia" as their new show "Lovecraft Country" begins shooting in the state. They promised to donate 100% of their episodic fees to the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia, an election reform organization.

"Governor Kemp's 'Fetal Heartbeat' Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women," the joint statement read. "We encourage those who are able to funnel any and all resources to these organizations."

On Thursday, Vachon, whose company has been behind such films as "Carol" and "Vox Lux," made her stand known on Twitter.

'Killer Films will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned,' she said. '''  

Good for these companies. Maybe if Georgia feels the monetary pressure that comes with a boycott they will come to their senses. 

Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike against men, but that might be a step too far. I mean why punish all of us men for the acts of a bunch of zealots? Plus, women like sex as well. This type of protest assumes that only men enjoy sex. 

Still, I dig her passion. And this is the kind of passion that will be needed to vote out the people who are making these types of laws and taking our country back to some very dark days. 


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Caption Saturday.

Image result for melania images be best

I need a caption for this pic.

*Pic from atlanticbb.net

Friday, May 10, 2019

Rudy goes on a mission.

  • Image result for rudy giuliani crazy eyes
OK, the following story is just nuts.

"President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani dismissed suggestions he is encouraging a foreign government to impact the upcoming US election with his trip to Ukraine, telling CNN on Friday that it is not meddling because the 2020 general election is a year and a half away.

Giuliani tells CNN he intends to travel soon to Ukraine to meet with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky in an effort to push the country to investigate matters connected to the release of negative information about Paul Manafort, the then campaign chairman for Trump's 2016 campaign. The former New York mayor also said he will continue to pursue questions about Vice President Joe Biden's call in 2016 to remove the top Ukrainian prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden's son.

 That prosecutor's ouster was called for by many Western governments and donors who criticized him for failing to tackle the country's problems with corruption. There's never been any evidence that Biden acted improperly.

"I don't want any favors, I just want this investigated," Giuliani said in a phone interview.
    A week ago, Giuliani told CNN that he was done looking into the Ukraine matters regarding Biden, but in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday he first said he was going to travel to Kiev to press the matter. Giuliani told the Times in defense of the effort.
    Giuliani said he's meeting in his capacity as the President's personal lawyer and helping to defend his client. He has called on the US Justice Department to investigate both his questions about a supposed conflict for Biden as well as what Giuliani claims may be the corrupt beginnings of the FBI investigation into Trump.

    Giuliani had previously told CNN that a "well-regarded investigator" he's known for years put him in touch last November with current and former Ukrainian officials, who he says he's interviewed over Skype and in person. (In 2017, both the Democratic National Committee and a contractor denied working with Ukrainians.)

    While searching for evidence, Giuliani says he also stumbled on what he claims is a damaging story about Biden.

    In 2016, while then-Vice President Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor as part of a broad anti-corruption push by the US, his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian company under investigation by that same prosecutor.

    Within a year of the prosecutor's removal, Ukraine's new prosecutor general dismissed the case against the company, Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company controlled by one of Ukraine's top oligarchs.

    Giuliani's story is littered with holes. According to a report from Bloomberg, the Ukrainian government's case against Burisma had been "dormant" since 2014, two years before Biden successfully pushed to remove the prosecutor general. Biden was also joined in his anti-corruption push against the prosecutor by numerous leaders in Europe as well as the International Monetary Fund -- none of whom had any family ties to Burisma.
    Giuliani has been shopping the story to journalists around Washington. The story floated around right-wing circles for a few weeks until May 1, when the Times reported that State Department officials at the time were concerned "that the connection could complicate" Biden's diplomacy.
      The Biden campaign declined to comment further and referred CNN to a statement a spokeswoman provided to the Times claiming Biden acted on Ukraine "without any regard for how it would or would not impact" Hunter's business interests." [Source]
       
      This is taking muddying the waters and gas lighting to a whole different level. 

      Of course he is taking orders from a guy (Mr trump) who has no problem ordering the top law enforcement official in the country to go after his political opponent. 

      President Donald Trump told POLITICO on Friday that it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to Attorney General Bill Barr about launching an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, or his son, Hunter.

      The question of whether Trump could pressure Barr to probe Biden is coming under scrutiny after Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, said he would be traveling to Ukraine to urge the incoming government there to look at Hunter Biden’s involvement with a Ukrainian energy company that has reportedly been in prosecutors’ crosshairs. The efforts appear to be part of a broader campaign by Trump’s allies to damage the former Democratic vice president’s White House campaign and have raised questions about whether Trump’s team is trying to enlist a foreign government to aid the president’s re-election bid.

      “Certainly it would be an appropriate thing to speak to him about, but I have not done that as of yet. … It could be a very big situation,” Trump said in a 15-minute telephone interview on Friday afternoon, which stemmed from POLITICO’s inquiries for a separate story." [Source]

      "Appropriate" to use the power of the presidency to go after a political rival?

      That is never alright. Unless, of course, you live in Russia. 

      *Pic from huffingtonpost.com




      Wednesday, May 08, 2019

      How to lose a billion dollars.

      *I am trying to figure out what I would do with a billion dollars. I am not a greedy man, and I do not consider myself ostentatious by nature. I am closer to Buffett than a Qatar bigwig.

      Still, there are some things that I would splurge on: A fully loaded Audi R8 coupe, a lovely ten thousand square foot log home somewhere. (I am guessing in the Shenandoah Valley.) Complete with an indoor tennis court and putting greens. A Navetta yacht to dock on the South Coast of Jamaica in the wintertime so that I can work on my tan. (That was a joke.) I would buy the Philadelphia Union from that cheap ass owner of theirs and fire every person associated with the organization. A G7 always fueled up and ready to go. A legacy endowment at the school of my choice, and a kick ass foundation to fight world poverty and hunger.

       I promise you my friends, that after all of that, I would still have enough money saved up and invested to take care of my entire family for a very long time.

       Donald trump had a billion dollars in the nineties. It was not money he earned, but money he had handed to him from his dad. Guess what he did with it? He lost it all. Turns out that Mr. "Art Of The Deal" himself was making one bad deal after another, and it was reflected in his tax filings. Mr. trump lost more money than any other person in America during that ten year time period, and if it was not for some shady bailouts from his Russian friends ,and a television show on NBC, he would be just as broke as some of his gullible followers.

      For the record, those losses were not just based on write- offs for depreciations on his properties, they were based on real money flying out the gold plated doors. Mr. trump was running his businesses in the red for a long time. Now we know why he has been so terrified of having his taxes made public to the American people. He does not want us to know that his billionaire persona is just a front.

      Imagine being born on third base and finding yourself back on first because of your own incompetence. This is what Mr. trump did. And it is looking more and more like he did some very bad things to get back on third.

      But that's all water under the bridge at this point. We elected the con man so we are stuck with him.

      Mr. trump is now trampling all over the Constitution. He is treating the other co-equal branches of government as if they all work for him.

      Now he is invoking  executive privilege to try and prevent the American people--- and the people they elected ---from seeing the full Mueller report. Throw in the fact that his attorney general is acting like he is his personal attorney, and it's easy to see why America is in a crisis right now.

      Congress voted to hold William Barr in contempt today for refusing to testify before them, but it all means nothing because trump and the republicans who protect him have just as much power as the democrats do. Can you say Constitutional Crisis boys and girls?

      Honestly,  I don't understand Mr. trump. If the Mueller report exonerates him as he claims, why is he so afraid to have it released?   

      "[T]he Committee needs to review the unredacted report, the underlying evidence, and associated documents so that it can ascertain the facts and consider our next steps," the report reads. It also says about Congress' Article I powers set out in the Constitution: "That includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the President or any other Administration official, as well as the consideration of other steps such as censure or issuing criminal, civil or administrative referrals."

      There is that I word again. Your move Madam Speaker. Stop with all the "self-impeachment" talk and being a slave to the polls. You and your party have a constitutional duty to protect the rule of law. If you allow this to go on there will be no election to win or lose in the future. Mr. trump---or someone else like him--- will come along and make it all go away. 

      *Pic from Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

      Monday, May 06, 2019

      Christians and a president for life.

      TWEET METoday my racism chase takes me to Georgia, in a little town just some 50 miles from the "city too busy to hate", Atlanta.

       "Bible Belt Racism: A Georgia city councilman defends his mayor’s decision to discriminate against a black man by citing his sincerely held Christian beliefs and his opposition to interracial marriage.
      Recently Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton, Georgia confessed to rejecting a candidate for city administrator because he’s black. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Mayor Kenerly told a member of the City Council she pulled the resume of Keith Henry from a packet of four finalists “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”

      The fact that Mayor Kenerly rejected a job applicant because he is black is simply despicable. And to their credit, several city council members spoke out against the blatant racism. But some on the city council defended the mayor’s open racism.

      For example, Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland defended Mayor Kenerly, saying “she might have been right” to discriminate against the black applicant. Cleveland said:
      I don’t know how they would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right.
      Councilman Cleveland then went on to explain that he is a Christian, and as a Christian, he has a problem with “race mixing.” Cleveland said:
      I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe.
      Cleveland added:
      I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live. "[Source]
      You gotta love some of these "Christians". They just don't tolerate all this race mixing stuff. You can't get to heaven if you have a tan. I guess they are going to have to start marrying more of their cousins and sisters now, these non-Christians out here are putting this race mixing thing into overdrive.

      But enough of racism. At the end of the day we will survive the goober brigade.  It has been with us forever, and I suspect that it will not be going away any time soon.

      What we really need to worry about is where we are as a country, as well as the Constitution and the rule of law that we are supposed to be following.

      Apparently we have a president who might not go peacefully when his term is up. He has been retweeting people who want him to stay past his term, and one of the leaders of the opposition (who knows him more than all of us) has declared that the orange one might not go peacefully into the night.

      If you think about it this all might make sense, because the only thing preventing Mr. trump from being criminally prosecuted is the fact that he is the sitting president. 

      When 400 hundred former federal prosecutors declare that Mr. trump should have been prosecuted for obstruction it kind of puts things all in perspective, and it makes us realize just what kind of man we have leading the country.

      No wonder he doesn't want to leave, he might end up like his former lawyer who reported to federal prison today. 

      He had some parting words for Mr. trump. "There still remains much to be told, and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth." 

      It might be too late, Mr. Cohen. By then we might have a president for life leading a country where truth no longer matters. 
       




      Saturday, May 04, 2019

      Caption Saturday.

      Image result for trump leaning forward

      I need a caption for this pic.


      Friday, May 03, 2019

      Reagan (not Putin) on a horse.

      Image result for reagan
      The daughter of  the republican party's  biggest hero is speaking out against the enablers and sycophants around Mr. trump. She also brought the fire for all the other republicans who are coddling him in order to get closer to power.

      "Dear Republican Party,

      I have never been part of you, but you have been part of my family for decades. I was 10 years old when my father decided to stop being a Democrat and instead become a Republican. From that point on, you were a frequent guest at our dinner table — and an unwelcome one to me. I wanted to talk about my science project on the human heart, or the mean girls at school who teased me for being too tall and for wearing glasses. Instead, much of the conversation was about how the government was taking too much out of people’s paychecks for taxes and how it was up to the Republicans to keep government from getting too big.


      You went from an annoying presence at the dinner table to a powerful tornado, lifting up my family and depositing us in the world of politics, which no one ever escapes. I know it’s not completely your fault. My father’s passion for America, his commitment to try to make a difference in the country and the world, and his gentle yet powerful command over crowds that gathered to hear him speak made his ascent to the presidency all but inevitable. He would have gotten there one way or another; it just happened to be as a Republican.

      You have claimed his legacy, exalted him as an icon of conservatism and used the quotes of his that serve your purpose at any given moment. Yet at this moment in America’s history when the democracy to which my father pledged himself and the Constitution that he swore to uphold, and did faithfully uphold, are being degraded and chipped away at by a sneering, irreverent man who traffics in bullying and dishonesty, you stay silent.

      You stay silent when President Trump speaks of immigrants as if they are trash, rips children from the arms of their parents and puts them in cages. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that my father said America was home “for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness.”
      You stayed silent when this president fawned over Kim Jong Un and took Vladimir Putin’s word over America’s security experts. You stood mutely by when one of his spokesmen, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said there is nothing wrong with getting information from Russians. And now you do not act when Trump openly defies legitimate requests from Congress, showing his utter contempt for one of the branches of our government.

      Most egregiously, you remained silent when Trump said there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis who marched through an American city with tiki torches, chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”

      Those of us who are not Republicans still have a right to expect you to act in a principled, moral and, yes, even noble way. Our democracy is in trouble, and everyone who has been elected to office has an obligation to save it. Maybe you’re frightened of Trump — that idea has been floated. I don’t quite understand what’s frightening about an overgrown child who resorts to name-calling, but if that is the case, then my response is: You are grown men and women. Get over it.

      My father called America “the shining city on a hill.” Trump sees America as another of his possessions that he can slap his name on. A president is not supposed to own America. He or she is supposed to serve the American people.

      In their book “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt warned: “How do elected authoritarians shatter the democratic institutions that are supposed to constrain them? Some do it in one fell swoop. But more often the assault on democracy begins slowly.”

      Trump has been wounding our democracy for the past two years. If he is reelected for another term, it’s almost a given that America will not survive — at least not as the country the Founding Fathers envisioned, and not as the idealistic experiment they built using a Constitution designed to protect democracy and withstand tyranny.

      My father knew we were fragile. He said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”

      So, to the Republican Party that holds tightly to my father’s legacy — if you are going to stand silent as America is dismantled and dismembered, as democracy is thrown onto the ash heap of yesterday, shame on you. But don’t use my father’s name on the way down." [Source]

      If only they could read this. But  that would mean they would have to take a leave from inside of trump's butt.    


      Wednesday, May 01, 2019

      Mr. Barr's contribution to the death of democracy.

      I don't think people watching William Barr 's testimony today realized what a stunning moment in our nation's history they were witnessing.

      There was the leading law enforcement official in the United States telling members from a co-equal branch of the government , that it was alright for a president to lie and obstruct justice. Stunning!

       Barr, in a crass partisan manner, declared that the Mueller Report, which was prepared for the people with the help of our tax dollars, was his "baby". And then not surprisingly (at least not to me), he pretty much told members of the senate that he could do with it whatever he damn well please.

      Mr Barr, of course, did not stop there. He went on to disparage the man who prepared the report and tried to downplay his authority and his legal and writing skills by calling the letter Mr. Mueller sent him as "snitty". Yes he said that. And he couldn't even say whether he communicated directly with the White House or not.

      Surprisingly, there are people who were surprised by William Barr's behavior today. I was not. I believe that when someone tells you who they are you should believe them, and Mr. Barr has done that many times over. He auditioned for the job by writing a paper on how to protect the president, and the president took notice and decided that he would let him into his crime family to protect the boss. 

      The people who sent Mazie Hirono to Washington can be proud of her tonight, because she laid into William Barr and called him out for the liar that he is. That is something that we all wanted to do while watching the proceedings.

       “the American people know you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway, or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputations for the liar and grifter who sits in the Oval Office.”

      Lindsey Graham, who has some kind of sick Faustian bargain with the devil in the White House, chastised Senator Hirono and suggested that she was slandering Mr. Barr.

      Now I don't know what kind of law they practice in South Carolina, but someone ought to tell Lindsey that truth is an absolute defense in this situation. 




      Monday, April 29, 2019

      Hate rising.

      Image result for charlottesville imagesOnce again, thanks to a president who sends dog whistles to his white nationalist base, America is seeing a rise in hate crimes, and lunatics who are being emboldened to slaughter innocent people in their houses of worship. 

      It happened again this past Saturday, and I suspect that it will happen again soon. 

      When the leader of our country chooses to find a moral equivalency between Nazis and the people protesting them, we might just have a problem.

      Here is Will Bunch's take on our current state of affairs. 

      "Violent white nationalism had a horrible, horrible moment in America on Saturday.

      That was punctuated on a sun-soaked morning in Southern California when the pop-pop-pop of an AR-15 semiautomatic in the hands of a 19-year-old, barely a man shattered the peace of a Passover service at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., near San Diego. A 60-year-old woman named Lori Gilbert Kaye was killed by the gunfire as she jumped in front of her congregation’s rabbi, who’d already had a couple fingers blown off by a bullet. Two others were wounded – all in service of the gunman’s insane rants that the Jewish people have been scheming to boost immigration to replace whites in America.

      It was the exact same white-supremacist baloney that caused another man with an AR-15 to slaughter 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue exactly six months earlier to the day. And there were more storm clouds on the horizon. In a popular Washington bookstore, at virtually the same time as the latest synagogue shooting occurred, a crowd of so-called “white identitarians” with a bullhorn showed up to disrupt the author of a book on racial resentment called Dying of Whiteness, chanting “this land is our land.”

      It would be hard to imagine a worse time to take a man who’d just been arrested two months ago with a giant cache of weapons and ammunition, whom authorities call a self-proclaimed white nationalist with an alleged hit list that included Supreme Court justices, Democratic politicians and TV journalists – and grant him freedom, even temporarily.

      But Christopher Hasson, a 50-year-old Maryland man who was a high-ranking U.S. Coast Guard officer with a security clearance, may walk out of jail in a few days, maybe less. A federal judge said he can’t justify Hasson’s continued imprisonment because – despite his seeming terroristic threats – the U.S. Justice Department has only seen fit to charge him with low-level drug and weapons charges. This after the government had refused to even publicize Hasson’s arrest, which instead was stumbled upon by an enterprising journalist.

      Experts say, to some extent, prosecutors are hamstrung by a criminal code that despite a so-called war on terror created no statutes to specifically address the specific terror threat posed by Hasson – motivated by white supremacy and stockpiling the kind of conventional weapons blessed by the National Rifle Association.

      That may be true, but let’s be honest: The failure of AG Bill Barr’s Justice Department to move heaven and earth to keep Hasson in custody or even issue a press release alerting the public is symbolic of a giant blind spot in our nation’s capital when it comes to the deadly threat posed by white supremacy. And that giant buck stops at the desk of President Trump. Although U.S. policy on white homegrown terror has been abysmal since the turn of this century, this president – with his vainglorious refusal to admit that an immoral strain of white nationalism helped elect him in 2016 – and his administration are making the problem much, much worse.

      Trump has repeatedly made clear his opinion that violent white extremism is not a problem in his America. When an Australian man poisoned by the same kind of internet extremism that’s fueled the U.S. synagogue shootings murdered 50 worshipers in a New Zealand mosque, with words of praise for Trump in his manifesto, reporters asked the president about the wider threat.

      I don’t think it’s a problem,” insisted the man who also still stands by his claim that 2017′s violence-sparking, white-supremacist march in Charlottesville had “very fine people on both sides." Trump added: " I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."

      Except that terror attacks by far-right extremists more than quadrupled in the year that Trump became president, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. That dramatized the fact that after spending billions on a vast infrastructure that primarily targeted Islamic extremism, the much greater threat in this country has a white face. Some of 71 percent of murders by political extremists in America from 2008 through 2017 were by right-wingers, according to the Anti-Defamation League (and 26 percent by Islamists) – and that imbalance seems to be increasing.
      Trump’s see-no-evilism about white violence would be worrisome if just for the moral symbolism – but the blind spot has spread to actual policy. Some of this predates the current president – a 2009 government report calling for stepped-up measures on right-wing terror was famously shelved after howls from talk radio and other conservatives –but under Trump, the government has gone much further to avoid the problem.

      George Selim, a former Homeland Security and National Security Council staffer under both Democratic and Republican presidents, said the government office most directly targeting domestic terrorism has seen its budget decimated under Trump, down from $21 million to just $3 million, and its staff reduced by more than half. Earlier this month, the Daily Beast reported that an entire unit of DHS intelligence analysts who tracked would-be domestic terrorists, which used to often issue warnings to local police, was quietly disbanded. Critics note the government isn’t even keeping stats on the right-wing attacks, leaving that task for outside groups.

      It seems that Team Trump has zero interest in either poking a stick in the eye of the president’s most despicable yet also most enthusiastic supporters, nor would the 45th president’s ego ever allow the acknowledgement that it was a terroristic, hateful fringe that played an important and possibly decisive role in his razor-thin 2016 election.

      The truly abominable thing is that white-nationalist terror isn’t the only area where Trump and his government is looking the other way – part because of our narcissistic president’s over-the-top vanity and in part because things that threaten American democracy often seem to be good news for the current occupant of the Oval Office. Consider the Russian election interference that – according to the Mueller report – played a critical role in 2016 and seems to remain a threat for next year’s presidential contest.

      When she was Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly concluded that facing down new and different kinds of Russian election threats in 2020 was a major challenge that needed much greater government attention. But, according to the New York Times, Nielsen was ordered to keep that information away from Trump and his fury over any suggestion his 2016 win was less than legitimate. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told her it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his [Trump’s] level.”

      Seriously? It’s hard to imagine a greater threat to American democracy and freedom than foreign election interference and computer crimes – until you start pondering the growing white-nationalist movement in this country, and the diminished ability of people to buy a book or get on their knees and pray without fear of harassment or deadly violence.

      A true democratic government would be working overtime right now to protect our synagogues, churches and mosques, our bookstores, and our ballot boxes from these insidious threats. Indeed, the grown-ups in Congress should try to pass legislation that will restore funding to the agencies that track domestic terror, require real-time reporting on the threat, and improve our terror laws so an imminent danger like Christopher Hasson can be taken off the streets.

      But doing what needs to done will be very, very hard when an egomaniacal autocrat sits behind the Resolute Desk with his tiny hands clasped firmly over his ears – determined to muffle any ideas that might tarnish his legacy, let alone jeopardize the second term he needs to cement his authoritarian legacy ... and maybe keep him out of jail. America wakes up on a grim Sunday morning to the realization that we’re fighting a war against hate with a yawning black hole at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where its commander is supposed to be. [Source]

      *Pic from progressive.org